Local people and international environmental activists from 12 different countries attended the first public debate on Svydovets in one of the villages affected by a planned mega ski resort. The gigantic project threatens the primeval forests of the Ukrainian Carpathians. For the first time a public debate on Svydovets has been held on 16 March in Yassinya, one of three villages affected by a planned mega ski resort. Local people have spoken out against the gigantic project which shall be build in the heart of the Svydovets massif.

Valera Pavluk, a sawmill owner from Lopukhovo who started the local resistance, states: “With the international support of people from all over the world, the project promoters can no longer ignore our resistance.”

The public debate was attended by an international delegation of environmental activists from 12 different countries (Bulgaria, Slovakia, Poland, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Switzerland, USA, Australia), facilitate by the forest protection group Bruno Manser Fonds.
Experience from similar projects in Bulgaria shows that local people are the last who can decide over the development of their village. Instead of mega ski resorts, the panelists promoted the development of a low-impact tourism that values nature and benefits local population.

60 people including 30 villagers from Yassinya and Tchorna Tisza participated in the public debate. Among the participants were representatives from the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources, the regional Association of Tourism and the university of Uzhorod. More than 70’000 people watched the public debate via Facebook livestream provided by Free Svydovets.

The plans for the Svydovets ski resort include 230km of ski slopes, 33 ski lifts and 390 apartment blocks in a practically untouched nature area. The Svydovets massif is a biodiversity hotspot in the Ukrainian Carpathians including 93 endangered species and entails one of the last remaining primeval forests of Europe.

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